18 Easy-to-Grow Roses for Your Organic Garden

Beginning gardeners will have little to no trouble with these roses.

'Betty Boop' floribunda rose

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Roses have a reputation for being fussy, but there are many varieties of roses that require little more maintenance than any other perennial in your garden. With proper siting, good nourishment, pruning every few years, and potentially some winter care and organic pest control, you'll have roses you will love and your neighbors will envy.

The easiest to grow are climbing roses, shrub roses, and floribunda roses. Climbing roses are perfect for draping over a trellis, arbor, or fence. Shrub roses make good groundcovers and landscape screening. Floribunda roses are a type of shrub rose, a cross between single-stem tea roses and a wild rose, Rosa multiflora.

Here are 18 easy-to-grow roses that can flourish in your garden without a lot of fuss and without chemical treatments.

Beware of "Sports"

Most commercially grown roses are actually two varieties grafted together: the rootstock is from a hardy-but-not-very-beautiful variety, while the above-ground variety is the eye-catching one. Just above the soil level is a “bud union,” where the two varieties meet. You want to encourage the growth of new canes above the bud line, but any “sports” emerging from below the bud line are suckers that will out-compete and crowd out your desired roses. Cut them as close to the root as you can.

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Knock Out (Rosa X ‘Knock Out')

Rainbow Knock-Out Roses

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This is one of the most popular shrub roses in the United States, prized for its resistance to disease, its heat and drought tolerance, and hardiness, although in colder zones it will need winter protection. With many colors ranging from white, peach, pink, and deep red, these flowers are very fragrant and bloom from spring to fall. It normally grows to 3 feet tall, with variety in either direction.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-9.
  • Sun Exposure: At least 6 hours direct sun per day.
  • Soil Needs: Well-draining soil with a pH of 6 to 6.5.
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Sally Holmes (Rosa X ‘Sally Holmes')

Sally Holmes rose

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A vigorous cream-colored rose, Sally Holmes is very disease resistant and makes excellent cut flowers. It's a repeat bloomer that produces large, fragrant blossoms with ruffled petals. Sally Holmes can grow 6 to 12 feet tall and 3 to 5 feet across. Nearly thornless and can be grown as either a shrub or a climber.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 6-9.
  • Sun Exposure: 6 hours direct sun for best blooms, but tolerates partial shade.
  • Soil Needs: Rich, well-draining soil with a pH of 6 to 6.5
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Roald Dahl (Rosa X ‘Roald Dahl')

Roald Dahl rose

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Named after the children's author, this peach-colored shrub rose can grow to four feet. It produces fragrant flowers from early summer to autumn. It is great for beds and borders, growing to a spread of 3 feet after a few years. Give it good air circulation and avoid watering from overhead, as it may be prone to powdery mildew.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-9.
  • Sun Exposure: A full day of sun.
  • Soil Needs: Tolerates most soil types, as long as they are well-drained.
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Mellow Yellow (Rosa X ‘Mellow Yellow')

'Mellow Yellow' shrub rose

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Mellow Yellow is a vigorous shrub rose that grows to 4 feet tall and requires little maintenance. It is better suited to warmer climates, but it grows larger flowers in cooler weather. Deep green leaves and moderately fragrant flowers that can be up to 5 inches in diameter, making them great for bouquets. It is also disease resistant.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Hardiness zones: 6-9.
  • Sun Exposure: Best in a full day of sun, but tolerates partial shade.
  • Soil Needs: Average, well-draining soil.
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Flower Carpet (Rosa X ‘Flower Carpet')

'Flower Carpet' rose

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Flower Carpet is a low-growing shrub rose that acts as a great ground cover, especially on a bank or slope. At 2 to 3 feet tall, it can also serve as a low-maintenance hedge. Generally disease-resistant, but in warmer, humid climates it can be prone to powdery mildew or black spot. It produces clusters of compact, slightly fragrant pink flowers with yellow stamens and a white eye.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-10.
  • Sun Exposure: Best in a full day of sun, but tolerates partial shade.
  • Soil Needs: Performs best in well-draining soil, but will thrive in most types.
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Sea Foam (Rosa X ‘Sea Foam')

Sea Foam roses growing on a low fence

Courtesy of the author.

This pinkish-white rose is officially classified by the American Rose Society as a shrub rose, but it functions as a climber or ground cover. Very disease resistant. Trailing down a bank, it will smother the weeds. Along a fence or trellis, its cane will grow 3 to 8 feet across. Remove any dead flowers from this mid-spring bloomer and you can get a repeat performance later in the growing season.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-9.
  • Sun Exposure: 6 to 8 hours direct sun per day.
  • Soil Needs: Well-draining soil.
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Ebb Tide (Rosa X ‘Ebb Tide')

Ebb Tide roses in a garden.

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With lavender or plum-colored flowers forming 4-inch clusters, this hardy Floribunda shrub rose can grow to 4 to 5 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide. The elegant, old-fashioned flowers smell of clove or citrus, blooming from late spring until the end of the growing season. Disease resistant, Ebb Tide roses make excellent cut flowers. Remove old or dead canes in early spring.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-10.
  • Sun Exposure: Needs a full day of sun for it to produce its prized flowers.
  • Soil Needs: Plant in rich, well-draining soils.
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Cinco de Mayo (Rosa X ‘Cinco de Mayo')

Cinco de Mayo roses in a well-mulched bed

Jennifer Yakey-Ault / Getty Images

It's no wonder that Cinco de Mayo won the Royal Horticulture Society's most prestigious award in 2009. This floribunda shrub rose can be found as the centerpiece of a garden or stand on its own in a neatly mulched bed. With a sweet fragrance and rusty red-orange ruffled feathers on long stems, Cinco de Mayo roses make great cut flowers and bouquets.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 6-10.
  • Sun Exposure: Needs a full day of sun.
  • Soil Needs: Can tolerate any rich, well-draining soil. Fertilize in early spring.
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Lady of Shallot (Rosa X ‘Lady of Shallot')

Lady of Shallot climbing roses

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These peach-colored blooms look luscious and smell of tea, apples, and cloves. Lady of Shallot can grow up to 8 feet tall up a structure, but can also be used for beds and borders. Remove spent blooms and you may get a second, late-season bloom. In cooler climates, leave the spent blooms on and let the roses form rose hips to encourage the plant to go dormant for the winter. Excellent disease resistance.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-10.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun or partial shade.
  • Soil Needs: Rich, well-draining soil.
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Cecile Brunner (Rosa X ‘Cecile Brunner’)

Cecile Brunner climbing roses

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Cecile Brunner is an old-fashioned, vigorous climbing rose, with fragrant, pale pink flowers blooming in late spring or early summer and again late in the season. It can grow 10 to 20 feet, so give it a good support structure to sprawl on. Its near lack of thorns makes it easy to prune in early spring and late in the fall. Drought-hardy.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-10.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun or partial shade.
  • Soil Needs: Rich, well-draining soil.
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Iceberg (Rosa X ‘Iceberg’)

Iceberg roses in a garden

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Iceberg have been a popular, low-maintenance variety of floribunda shrub roses for decades. It grows 3 to 5 feet in height, and double that if well cared for. Its white flowers have a hint of pink, especially in cool weather. While only lightly fragrant, it flowers from mid spring until the end of the growing season. A similar Climbing Iceberg also exists, which can grow 10 to 15 feet tall.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-9.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Rich, well-draining soil.
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Don Juan (Rosa X ‘Don Juan’)

Don Juan roses climbing across a fence.

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These disease-resistant and drought-tolerant climbing roses will turn heads and delight noses. Growing vigorously 8 to 15 feet on canes that need a sturdy support, they produce deep red flowers with a complex scent that smells like you expect a rose to smell. After an early flush of flowers in late spring, they will re-bloom less abundantly throughout the growing season. 

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 6-10.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Rich, well-draining soil.
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Dublin Bay (Rosa X ‘Dublin Bay’)

Dublin Bay roses

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One of the hardiest, longest-blooming and all-time favorite red-flowered climbers, Dublin Bay is a floribunda rose that can grow 8 to 12 feet tall and 5 feet wide. Its fragrance varies depending on growing conditions, but its deep red, doubled flowers appear in late spring and keep coming all the way into fall. 

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-10.
  • Sun Exposure: At least 6 hours of sun per day.
  • Soil Needs: Rich, well-draining soil of any type.
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Little Mischief (Rosa X ‘Little Mischief’)

Little Mischief rose

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As its name suggests, this rose grows to only 2 feet tall but produces superbly pink flowers with a white center. Well-suited for containers, this disease-resistant shrub rose blooms from late spring until the first frost. Tolerates both cold and heat and requires little maintenance—making them great for beginners.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-9.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Performs best in well-draining soil, but will thrive in most types.
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The Fairy (Rosa X ‘The Fairy’)

'The Fairy' Rose

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Like Little Mischief, The Fairy is another miniature shrub rose that grows to only 2 feet tall, this time with lighter pink flowers. Hardy, disease-resistant, and lightly scented, it can be grown in pots and allowed to cascade from the top of a wall, or as a groundcover. A favorite shrub rose for nearly a century.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-9.
  • Sun Exposure: Best in full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Rich, well-draining soil with good air circulation.
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Scentimental (Rosa X 'Scentimental')

Scentimental floribunda rose

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Scentimental roses delight not just the nose: each flower is a unique splash of red and creamy-white swirls. With blooms around 4 1/2 inches across, this floribunda rose is a 1997 All-America Rose Selection, the highest award in the United States. Though susceptible to blackspot, it's otherwise disease resistant and low-maintenance.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-9.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Rich, well-draining soil. Fertilize twice a year.
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Julia Child (Rosa X 'Julia Child')

'Julia Child' floribunda rose

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Looking like butter and smelling like licorice, this petite floribunda rose is great for containers and cut flowers. Named for the famous cook who personally chose this flower to bear her name. Low maintenance, disease-resistant when given good air circulation, and a great pollinator!

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 6-9.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Prefers well-draining acidic soil.
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Betty Boop (Rosa X 'Betty Boop')

Floribunda Rose Betty Boop in Full Bloom
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Another All-America Rose Selection (1999). This gorgeous floribunda rose grows 3 to 5 feet in height and is lightly scented. Watch the stunning colors fade as they emerge and then age. Betty Boop begins blooming in late spring and reblooms through the growing season. Somewhat susceptible to powdery mildew and blackspot.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-10.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Rich, well-draining soil.

Multiflora roses (Rosa multiflora) and beach roses (Rosa rugosa) are considered invasive in parts of the United States. To check if a plant is considered invasive in your area, go to the National Invasive Species Information Center or speak with your regional extension office or local gardening center.